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NEW YORK — New luxury goods distributor Mada Luxe launches this week, offering in the U.S. swimwear and accessories from major European brands.

This story first appeared in the March 13, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Operating in New York and California, the family-run company has obtained the rights to distribute Italian and French luxury collections such as Missoni footwear, Sebastian footwear, Givenchy scarves, Balmain swim and scarves, Just Cavalli swim and scarves, Chloé swim, C’N’C’ Costume National accessories and Alessandro Oteri accessories. The first deliveries will be for fall.

Adam Freede, co-founder of Mada Luxe, said his firm has cultivated close relationships with the European houses. “Our goal is to target the best products and to focus on underdeveloped parts of their businesses,” said Freede.

He explained that some of the brands, such as Missoni and Chloé, have had more exposure in the U.S. than others, and he will tailor distribution strategies accordingly, taking into account the house’s heritage and culture. He also plans to distribute emerging labels and brands. Some categories, such as footwear and handbags, will be shown four times a year, whereas swimwear will be shown once a year. While Freede declined to give a first-year sales projection, market sources estimate Mada Luxe could generate about $20 million in retail sales in the first year.

Mada Luxe’s parent company, Mada LLC, was founded in 1990 and has gained expertise in inventory management, consulting, logistics and distribution, said Freede. What distinguishes Mada Luxe from other multibranded showrooms is that the company will take an ownership position in the European merchandise. “We’re not a rep. We take ownership of the goods. We’ll replenish inventory and focus on building the business,” he said. While the firm will begin with luxury footwear, swimwear and accessories, it plans to eventually add ready-to-wear.

Mada Luxe will target both department and specialty stores. The 4,000-square-foot showroom on the 11th floor of 214 West 39th Street will house each of the collections as a shop-in-shop. Some eight to 10 people have been hired for the New York operation, and another 12 to 15 people will be based in California. A salesperson can mix and match the brands when showing a specialty or department store. About 95 percent of the merchandise is manufactured in Italy. Distribution will be handled from the company’s Seal Beach, Calif., headquarters.

Mada Luxe plans to invest in a digital strategy, which should be up and running in the fall. All the brands will be featured under the Mada Luxe umbrella, and there will be an e-commerce component as well.

Freede said his family’s business has cultivated relationships with many of these European brands in terms of inventory consulting. “We understand the U.S. market,” he said. Each of the brands has established its own distinct identity, and Mada Luxe plans to be flexible in its approach in order to customize the relationship based on the brand’s specific needs.

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